Mail Online & Paddy Power

Champions League Final


One of the most distinctive features of betting with is their famous 'money- back specials'. These deals, which are offered daily on a range of different markets, are popular with their punters, and Paddy Power goes so far as to let their customers vote for the kinds of deals that they would like to see.

Two weeks before the Champions League Final (Manchester United vs Barcelona), Paddy Power gave its punters the following options for the money-back special:

  • Messi to score anytime in 90 mins
  • Both teams to score in 90 mins
  • Manchester United to lift the trophy
  • Wayne Rooney to score anytime in 90 mins
  • A red card in 90 mins
  • Barcelona to win in 90 mins

'Barcelona to win in 90 mins' received 36% of the vote. It was then up to Paddy Power to market that offer as effectively as possible in the short time that remained.


Paddy Power (PP) is no stranger to innovative and controversial marketing campaigns and their offer on the final of European football's most glittering competition was no exception. A week beforehand, PP secured the endorsement of ex-Big Brother contestant - one Imogen Thomas: the most-talked about woman in the country at the time, thanks to her attachment to the highly publicised Ryan Giggs super-injunction drama.

Paddy Power knew that if they were going to make the most of this nationwide media storm they must find ways of making the most of the news flow. They needed media partners with the technology to maximise context and timing, and above all, they needed to work fast.


Paddy Power had advertised with the Mail Online previously, but it had been on a performance basis only, with Paddy Power paying only for specific leads. This time, however, the MailOnline deployed Grapeshot asits contextual targeting solution. Grapeshot's unique understanding of MailOnline's content allowed it to create an advertising channel that was completely unique to Paddy Power.

For example, the Imogen Thomas creative (left) appeared next to every article regarding Ryan Giggs: the very person - cue irony not wasted on Paddy Power's savvy punters - who had tried to silence her.

The Paddy Power channel contained only six words. However it gathered together 1,251 articles and delivered more than 1,146,013 page impressions over the four days before the Final. The question now? Whether having the right message at the right time in the right location would in fact lead to better results.


In the end the campaign ran for three full days. In that time, the campaign served out nearly 3.6 million ad impressions with a CTR rate of 0.36%. This translated to a doubling of registrations and deposits, and a weeks' worth of new accounts being opened in just three days.

What was especially interesting was the fact that these new registrations didn't take place in the sports channel, so in effect Paddy Power had reached an un-tapped audience very effectively indeed.